Hardships are real. But in the same way that cataracts can cloud our vision to the point of blindness, hardships can cloud of perspective of God’s purpose for our lives.
I’ve been in situations where people treated hardships as a competition. This will sound horrible, but I was in a bible study where people were sharing some of their struggles so the group could pray for them. One man opened up that he had lost his wife to cancer 2 years prior and had just found out that his daughter had leukemia. The next person started their comments with “well, I can’t beat that.”
There is nothing wrong with facing our hardships and confronting them, but they are situations, not what defines us. We should name them, not as badges of honor, but as things to be turned over to God for prayer and support.
The challenge is that we, all too often, look to outside influences to make us something. To make us happy. To make us content. To make us fulfilled. But outside influences whether given (money, food, clothing) or taken away (fear, pain, hardship) do not “make us.” Case in point, their are incredibly wealthy people, who lack financial security. There are very well fed individuals, who crave certain foods.
The point is that the only way to “be” something else is from the inside out, not the outside in. Nothing pushing on the outside of a balloon is going to fill it up. Ful-fill-ment starts on the inside. That is where God comes in, by, literally coming in to your life. God is not an influence, He is a “be”ing. He says, you will “be” my people and I will “be” your God. He fills us with the Love of Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He writes His name on us and claims us as His home, a place to fill with Himself.
When your focus turns to struggles, worries and hardships, as the song says, turn your eyes upon Jesus. In so doing you can “be” delighted in your inheritance, “be” patient and not fret, “be” still, and most rewardingly, you can “be” content. Content is an interesting word. The origin of the word is the past participle of the Latin word continere, meaning: to contain.
fire burned among them and consumed the edges of the camp, that is how He chose to reveal His wrath so they could see what they truly deserved.
Cried to Moses
grumble, worry, pray
16:6 – boundary lines, delightful inheritance
37:7 wait patiently, do not fret about others
4:11-12 be content